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VOL. 130 | NO. 79 | Thursday, April 23, 2015

Daily Digest

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University of Memphis Foundation Seeks $1 Million Building Permit

The University of Memphis Foundation has applied for a $1 million building permit for a new facility at the university’s Park Avenue campus.

The University of Memphis Foundation applied for the $1 million permit through the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement. The permit is for a project at 1115 E. Getwell Loop, the same address as the planned indoor practice facility for the U of M’s football team. Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. is listed on the application as the contractor. Fleming Architects is listed as the architect. GTG and Fleming also were each listed on a previous building permit application for the indoor practice facility.

In March, the U of M applied for a $15 million building permit for the indoor practice facility. The university has been running a $40 million capital campaign to raise funds for the 74,000-square-foot indoor practice facility, which will be located on the university’s Park Avenue campus, and a new basketball practice facility to replace the Finch Center.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Amos Maki

Orphanos Fundraiser Goes Over the Edge, Literally

Orphanos has partnered with Over the Edge and the Hilton Memphis to host Over the Edge Memphis for Orphans. People that raise a minimum of $1,000 to benefit Orphanos will have the opportunity to rappel off the 28-story East Memphis hotel at 939 Ridge Lake Blvd.

Most participants will rappel on Saturday, April 25. But there will be a special “media day” on Friday, April 24, from 1-4 p.m. It will feature, among others, Bill Courtney, the former Manassas High School volunteer football coach who was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary “Undefeated,” and Memphis Redbirds mascot Rockey the Redbird. Spiderman and Batman also will have a rappelling competition and local radio personalities will be involved as well.

You can learn more at www.overtheedgeusa.com.

Orphanos is a Memphis-based nonprofit that partners with Christian ministries and missionaries who help at-risk children around the world.

– Don Wade

New Site for Elvis Jets Wins City Council Approval

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, April 21, a move of Elvis Presley’s two jets from Graceland property to a nearby lot at 3850 Elvis Presley Boulevard.

The lot is not owned by Elvis Presley Enterprises.

The Lisa Marie and Hound Dog 2 will be at the front of the lot along the boulevard, as they are at their present location. But they are moving a block to the north and across the street, to the east side Elvis Presley. There will be a museum building on the rear of the lot.

OKC Partnership, the owner of Elvis’ famed planes, is moving the jets after its contract with Elvis Presley Enterprises ran out this year. Graceland indicated it wanted the jets off its land.

Elvis Presley Enterprises did not object to the planned development. Earlier, EPE indicated it had problems with the development that council member Harold Collins described as involving “copyright” issues. There was no discussion during Tuesday’s vote about what may have settled the differences.

The council also approved on the second of three readings an ordinance establishing a five percent surcharge on all items bought on the 120-acre Graceland campus. The surcharge would be used to partially finance expansion plans at Graceland that include a $90-million, 450-room resort hotel north of the mansion.

– Bill Dries

Soulsville Charter Sees 100 Percent College Acceptance Rate

This July will mark the 10th anniversary of classes at The Soulsville Charter School, which also has another milestone to celebrate.

For the fourth year in a row, 100 percent of its seniors have been accepted to colleges and universities.

This year’s class of 66 seniors also is the largest graduating class yet for the school, and so far they’ve received almost 400 letters of acceptance – an average of about six colleges per student. The letters of acceptance and scholarship offers are still coming in.

Already, every senior in the grades 6-12 school’s first three graduating classes, starting in 2012, was accepted to college. The 141 seniors in those classes received scholarships and grants totaling more than $20 million, with the graduates now attending such schools as Rhodes College, Tufts University, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, University of Memphis, and others.

– Andy Meek

Tennessee Tuition Equality Bill Likely Dead This Session

A proposal that would allow students lawfully in the United States to be eligible for in-state tuition is likely dead this session after failing in the House.

The proposal sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark White of Memphis failed 49-47 on Wednesday when it didn’t get the 50 votes needed for passage. The Senate approved the measure 21-12 last week.

Under the proposal, students considered “lawfully present” in the U.S. through a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals would qualify for in-state tuition. Such students now pay nearly three times as much for higher education — the out-of-state rate — even if they’ve lived in Tennessee for most of their lives.

Supporters of the legislation say it’s an opportunity for those students to not just further their education, but contribute to Tennessee’s economy.

– The Associated Press

Elton John’s Glasses Stolen From Rock 'n' Soul Museum

Officials say a pair of Elton John’s heart-shaped glasses has been stolen from a display case at a Memphis museum.

Memphis police said Wednesday the glasses were taken from the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Officers were called to the museum on Tuesday night, when employees noticed the glasses were missing.

Officers said the case holding the glasses sustained no real damage. Police said a museum manager told officers someone would have to use a set of tools to remove the item from the case. An officer processed the case for fingerprints.

Flamboyant glasses and outfits have been part of the singer’s signature look.

Museum executive director John Doyle says these glasses are valued at about $2,000 dollars.

No arrests have been made, and the search for the glasses continues.

– The Associated Press

Trial Begins for Memphis Mansion Squatter

The trial has begun for a woman accused of squatting in a vacant $3 million dollar mansion.

Tabitha Gentry is being charged with aggravated burglary and theft over $60,000. Authorities say she illegally moved into the Memphis-area mansion in March 2013. The property was for sale after being foreclosed on by a bank.

The Commercial Appeal reports that Gentry still claims to be a sovereign citizen and told the judge on Tuesday that she does not recognize the authority of the court and will not assist her court-appointed attorney. The trial proceeded anyway.

After jurors came in and the defense attorney said Gentry pleaded not guilty to the charges, she stood and addressed the panel directly.

“I do not plead anything. This is supposed to be a civil issue and they have made it into a criminal issue and I don’t understand why,” she said before Judge James Lammey cut her off.

Prosecutors told jurors in opening statements that Gentry should be held criminally responsible for trying to take possession of the home.

Gentry’s attorney, Claiborne Ferguson, said his client was squatting, but couldn’t have stolen the residence.

“It’s a house,” Ferguson said. “You can’t put it in your pocket and walk away with it and say ‘I’m going to keep it forever.’”

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
BUILDING PERMITS 201 410 3,466